WHAT do you want from your MP? To talk intelligently and eloquently about Afghanistan and the economy and important international politics? Or do you want them to be good at sorting your corner of the country out, stuff like making we’ve got enough post offices and police officers, and making sure nobody bricks over the Heath.
I guess for most of us it’s a bit of both.
Last Thursday at the Meet The Candidate hustings for the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency at the Rosslyn Hill chapel, we got extra helpings of the first bit but not much of the second. People, for instance, didn’t ask Glenda Jackson: what have you done for Hampstead since you got elected not that shy of 20 years ago? What have you specifically done to improve this constituency? I wonder what she would have said. She must have a list of achievements in her own mind from her years as a MP and know how many relate solely to these streets. I would have liked to have seen those cards on the table.
As well as these hustings were chaired, I wondered too how her rivals would have answered if they were asked the same question: what will you specifically do for Hampstead and Kilburn?
Of course there are arguments against a more localised conversation between these candidates. This is after all a constituency which probably needs to change colour if there is going to be a new national government. And the chance of change is higher than it’s been since Glenda first won. How whoever wins will feed into national and international politics is relevant.
But even though Jackson was in punchy form on Thursday, she seemed up for reminding everyone that she can still debate hard, that she is up for the election battle and knows the big stuff inside out, it would have been nice to hear some words from all of the candidates about what they think of the everyday stuff here in Camden too.